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Leaving a Legacy

Charitable organizations and wealth management firms reach out to donors to help them make solid legacy giving plans that help communities grow into the future.

Leaving a legacy—the ultimate gift of support that lives beyond our own time on earth. Legacy gifts give life to and secure the future for our passions and the causes that inspire us to do and be better.

David Sung, president at Nicola Wealth, says leaving a legacy is about the desire to make an impact on the world beyond one’s own existence. “It is about leaving something behind beyond our own lifetime and contributing to something greater than ourselves.”

Deciding how and to whom to leave part of one’s estate is a complex, important decision. Because it can impact families and greater communities for generations to come, several of Vancouver’s charitable organizations and financial management firms say must be made with care, with vision and in consultation with family.

ZLC Financial

Helping clients build a legacy begins with meaningful conversations to identify individual giving goals, objectives and desires to do more. “This could be considered challenging to do,” says Aeronn Zlotnik, advisor with ZLC Financial. “Once we gain a greater understanding of the goals and resources, we can usually identify different ways in which we can solve this challenge and do more in a more effective manner.”

For donors looking to build a legacy gift, Zlotnik shares some considerations in starting the process. “First of all, you need to have the desire to make an impact,” he says. “Next, reach out to organizations and the people in the community who are already giving to learn more about what they are doing and how you can help.”

He suggests creating a plan around how to devote time to one’s passion and talking about these passions with one’s family to create learning opportunities for your children and future generations. “Facilitating conversations between the client and family can also help educate the next generation on giving, charity and making an impact,” Zlotnik says. “Speak to professionals about planning opportunities to enhance the impact you can make.”

While making a financial contribution is an important way to build a legacy, Zlotnik also points to the importance of educating the next generation about how they can make a difference.

“I think it is very important when you are able to make a difference and give back, that you take the time to additionally do that,” Zlotnik says. “I remember conversations with my uncles and grandfather about giving back, and it was ingrained in me early on, that given the role we play in the community and the resources we had, we must make a difference. I would get involved with different entities to help them raise funds and make an impact in any way that I could. The notion of giving back through both big and small contributions is now woven into our fabric as a firm and an expression of our values and in our relationships here in the Lower Mainland.”

Nicola Wealth

Nicola Wealth works with families to educate them on their legacy options, especially from a tax perspective, for passing on their wealth in an efficient manner. “Our advisors council our clients on how to maximize their contributions to family and the causes they most care about,” Sung says. “That can be done effectively by helping clients set up a private foundation, long-term giving through a public foundation or a donor-advised fund.”

Nicola Wealth financial advisors hold helping others and setting a high standard for corporate responsibility as some of its core values. In doing so, the firm partners with causes and organizations that align with its clients’ passions and values, and through a combination of staff donations, corporate partners and a private giving foundation, Nicola Wealth contributed $36 million into our communities in 2022 alone.

“We help our clients and their families ultimately manage their wealth and protect and steward that to the next generation,” says Nicola Wealth president, David Sung. “That means our client-facing advisors are meeting with a client multiple times throughout year, reviewing their long-term wealth and legacy plans, and engaging in ongoing discussions about how our clients can maximize their contributions to the causes they care about outside of what they want to leave to their loved ones.”

Nicola Wealth has been “doing well by doing good” for more than 26 years. It was one of the first financial firms to start a donor-advised and public foundation account. Today, Nicola Wealth has Canada’s largest donor-advised fund among private investment council firms, and the fourth largest when larger firms, like banks and insurance companies, are factored in.

“We were early in doing that, so by creating internal expertise, we can use that fund as a vehicle our clients can use to give to the community,” Sung says.

Vancouver Foundation

Legacy donations are important to Vancouver Foundation, because they are important to the community. From the donor’s perspective, many individuals want their stories and values—their legacies—to endure.

“This final expression of giving by establishing a donor advised fund is a way we can play a role in preserving that legacy,” says Craig Hikida, vice-president, donor services at Vancouver Foundation.

From the charity’s perspective, one or several organizations close to the donor’s heart will receive ongoing support long into the future and will be strengthened by this act of generosity for generations.

“Planning to make a charitable gift from one’s estate may be one of the most selfless acts one can perform,” Hikida says. “After all, you won’t be able to witness the wonderful work that will transpire from it.”

He adds that because the wealth to make these donations may have taken a lifetime to accumulate, many prefer this type of donation not all spent down at once.

“Vancouver Foundation can provide you with a variety of options so that your donation can endure for many years, or even forever,” Hikida says. “Wealth generated over your lifetime can support a charity throughout their lifetime and can help them tackle issues or events we can’t predict at this time.”

Vancouver Foundation leverages essential relationships with allied professionals, such as wills and estate lawyers, life insurance professionals and financial planners to support their clients when the conversation of charitable giving arises. These professionals take a holistic approach to serving all their clients wishes, including community support, and work as part of Vancouver Foundation’s team to serving clients’ interests when it comes to planned giving.

“We know it’s a difficult and overwhelming task to decide to which charities to give, especially since you’re planning for a donation that won’t transpire for many years from now,” Hikida says. “So, don’t.  Instead, think of the issues in the community where you’d like to effect change.  We can help with the rest.”

Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon Branch

The Kidney Foundation has supported world class kidney health and transplant research since 1964. “Legacy gifts are vital to the tremendous advancements we have seen over the years in kidney care,” says Ramya Hosak, Director of Philanthropy with the Kidney Foundation, BC & Yukon Branch. Some examples include prediction and prevention of kidney disease, developing and improving of dialysis treatment, so kidney patients can dialyse at home, and breakthroughs in life-saving organ transplantation and success.

“Legacy gifts will be key to even more discoveries in the years to come,” she says. “We have the power to relieve the burden of kidney disease, but it’s only possible with donors’ help.”

The Kidney Foundation of Canada – BC & Yukon Branch serves thousands of kidney patients in the local community, ensuring marginalized and vulnerable populations have equitable access to programs, services and treatments.

This support includes emergency short-term financial assistance for kidney patients in low-income households and home blood pressure monitors for patients across BC/Yukon with high blood pressure.

“We also offer seven Kidney Suites in Vancouver at little to no cost (depending on income) for out-of-town kidney transplant patients to recover post-surgery,” Hosak says, “and the Kidney Wellness Hub, a low-barrier free online platform to help support the physical, mental, social and spiritual wellbeing of kidney patients, care partners and living donors.”

The Kidney Foundation reaches potential donors through overwhelming support from the significant number of impacted kidney patients in the community who spread the word about the organization’s services and resources, exciting research into new treatments, and community engagement events.

“This has been instrumental in reaching businesses and donors,” Hosak says. “As a grassroots, volunteer-led organization, we are forever grateful to our volunteers, donors and businesses for helping us achieve our mission to better the lives of kidney patients today and provide hope for the future.”

Jewish Community Foundation

The Jewish Community Foundation provides personalized, one-on-one service, connecting fund holders with community needs that matter most to them.

“We have the expertise and knowledge of the Jewish community, so we can assist fund holders with their philanthropy within and outside of our community,” says Marcie Flom, executive director of the Jewish Community Foundation. “We also have a strong governance structure and sound investment practices, so that fosters trust and confidence from our fund holders.”

This is one important way the Jewish Community Foundation stands out in its service delivery—by serving the Jewish community locally, nationally and internationally. “This mandate enables us to best serve fund holders who have broad charitable interests beyond the local community,” Flom says.

The Jewish Community Foundation supports donors by facilitating conversations about their philanthropic objectives, while helping them think about the possibilities and various gift vehicles to inform their discussion with their advisor.

It is essential to involve families in legacy planning, in particular, children. “It’s important to understand whether they are interested in participating, whether there is an active role for them, whether your interests and values align and, if so, how to structure your legacy gift,” Flom says. “Having realistic expectations about your family’s interests and capacity is critical in building a solid legacy.”

Lastly, working closely with Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver, the Foundation employs its unique knowledge of the Jewish community to assist donors in support of the community as well as organizations outside of the Jewish community in areas that include health, education, social services, the arts, and more.

“As the community’s needs evolve, the Foundation can help build in the flexibility to ensure that your overall charitable objectives are realized even when the landscape changes,” Flom says.

Family Services of Greater Vancouver

Family Services of Greater Vancouver relies on legacy donations because they represent a promise to care for future generations. “Many of the children, youth and families who depend on Family Services and our specialized counselling and social work programs are dealing with the impacts of intergenerational trauma,” says Amanda Sayfy, VP, Development & Communications at Family Services of Greater Vancouver. “Our programs help break intergenerational cycles, empowering our clients to move forward with safety, confidence and choice.”

Since Family Services’ founding in 1928, the needs of families have evolved. Today, the cost of living, housing crisis and mental health and addictions are just a few of the challenges that marginalized individuals and families face; if they are not addressed, their impacts will be felt for generations to come. “A legacy gift made today will ensure that Family Services can continue to be there for the neighbours who need us with specialized, client-centred and trauma-informed care, well into the future,” Sayfy says. “Legacy donors have a chance to create brighter tomorrows for children, youth and families in need.”

In its long history of community impact, Family Services has always depended on the support of the philanthropic community. Sayfy says individuals considering a legacy gift should look to an organization they can trust and that has the staying power to make a difference for generations to come. “While the role it plays and the challenges it addresses will continue to evolve, the non-profit sector—and donors like you—will always be needed to ensure that no one is left behind,” she says.

Making a legacy gift is a powerful way to make a difference for the causes closest to your heart. Non-profit organizations like Family Services of Greater Vancouver can be a trusted partner as donors look to ensure that their values live on.

Burnaby Hospital Foundation

Gifts through Burnaby Hospital Foundation’s Legacy Giving program help transform care for loved ones through the purchase of vital life-saving medical equipment. Legacy gifts ensure that Burnaby Hospital’s team of dedicated healthcare professionals has access to modern technology so when community members need care, Burnaby Hospital is equipped.

“A legacy donation in support of healthcare is a gift that benefits the entire community, ensuring a bright and healthy future,” says Kristy James, President & CEO at Burnaby Hospital Foundation. Burnaby Hospital is a community serving a community. The Foundation bridges the gap between what the government provides and what the public needs. “Our purpose is to ensure that Burnaby Hospital is equipped in every way to advance the health of all generations,” James says.

Burnaby Hospital Foundation is proud to collaborate with industry experts, such as lawyers and financial advisors, to educate the community about legacy giving. Additionally, the Foundation hosts a prominent partnership with Will Power, a national campaign encouraging Canadians to think differently about their charitable giving. Donors are encouraged to visit to learn more and access unique tools to support you in creating your lasting legacy.

When someone makes a gift through their will, a charitable tax receipt is issued for the estate, which ultimately can help ease or eliminate income tax payable upon their passing. “These prospective tax savings can assist with preserving more of their assets for loved ones,” James says.

A legacy gift is one that will live on by fundamentally impacting the lives of countless individuals and their families.

“Leaving a legacy gift is an act that is generous, influential, and remarkably simple,” James says. “It allows people to leave a greater gift with life-changing influences, something that is often not feasible during one’s lifetime.”


ZLC Financial |
Nicola Wealth |
Vancouver Foundation |
Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon Branch |
Jewish Community Foundation |
Family Services of Greater Vancouver |
Burnaby Hospital Foundation |